Sacked British coach exonerated by Malaysian FA
SINGAPORE (Reuters) - The Malaysian Football Association has torn up the case against British coach Peter Butler, overturned a six-month suspension and ordered his Terengganu club to buy him out of his contract, the ex-West Ham United player told Reuters on Thursday.
"I've won," the 46-year-old said in a phone call minutes after being cleared by the FAM. "I'm just relieved it is all over. This is not about money, this is about my integrity and my reputation."
Terengganu, who finished fifth in the 14-team top flight Super League this season, were ordered to pay Butler the remaining 15 months of his salary, the Englishman said.
Attempts to contact officials at the soccer club based in the North-eastern Malaysian state were unsuccessful, and messages were not returned.
Butler, a much-travelled coach in Southeast-Asia, was sacked by Terengganu last month after he had disciplined two players for breaking a team curfew before a match.
Both players, Ismail Faruqi and Muslim Ahmad, admitted breaking the curfew but the club banned Butler for six months and hit him with a 4,000 Malaysian ringgit ($1,300) fine for speaking to the media.
That six-month ban activated a clause in his contract under which the club termination his employment as head coach.
A letter from the Terengganu Football Association to Butler, seen by Reuters, said the six-month suspension had been for issuing a press statement without prior approval from the club or the Terengganu FA.
Butler, who insisted he had not contravened any club regulations, appealed to the FAM who overturned the suspension and ordered Terengganu to honor his contract.
"It has been a nightmare six weeks," Butler said. "Every credit to the FAM - they were really on the ball.
"I knew I was in the right, and I am relieved they agreed and it is all over," said Butler who has plied his trade in Britain, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Australia and Myanmar in a much-travelled career.
"I am flying home tonight and will be back in Halifax tomorrow."
(Editing by Patrick Johnston)
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